Revisiting the Foundations of Organizational Distrust

Foundations and Trends in Strategic Management, Forthcoming

91 Pages Posted: 24 Jul 2015

See all articles by Shiau-Ling Guo

Shiau-Ling Guo

Purdue University

Fabrice Lumineau

University of Hong Kong

Roy J. Lewicki

Ohio State University (OSU) - Human Resource Research

Date Written: July 23, 2015


Parallel to the very large scholarly interest in trust, scholars in management and related disciplines have made the case for the importance of distrust as a related but distinct construct. This paper critically assesses current literature on distrust in organizational settings. We first take stock of the extant research on organizational distrust and suggest an integrative framework. Second, to underpin research on organizational distrust, we examine the different scholarly perspectives on the conceptual relationship between trust and distrust. In turn, we discuss key issues to position research on trust and distrust. Third, we highlight empirical evidence on the role of distrust as opposed to that of trust. We specifically discuss alternative approaches and implications about how distrust and trust can be empirically distinguished. Fourth, we make suggestions to integrate distrust research into relationship repair literature. Fifth, we summarize our review and point to specific areas for new theoretical and empirical research on distrust, particularly at the organizational level. Finally, we discuss specific empirical challenges in this growing literature. Based on our systematic discussion of the organizational distrust literature, we believe that we have opened up prospective avenues to advance distrust research in strategic management.

Keywords: Distrust, Trust, Relationship Repair, Review, Research Agenda

Suggested Citation

Guo, Shiau-Ling and Lumineau, Fabrice and Lewicki, Roy J., Revisiting the Foundations of Organizational Distrust (July 23, 2015). Foundations and Trends in Strategic Management, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN:

Shiau-Ling Guo

Purdue University ( email )

610 Purdue Mall
West Lafayette, IN 47907
United States

Fabrice Lumineau (Contact Author)

University of Hong Kong ( email )

HKU Business School
Hong Kong
Hong Kong

Roy J. Lewicki

Ohio State University (OSU) - Human Resource Research ( email )

700 Fisher Hall
2100 Neil Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210-1144
United States
614-292-0258 (Phone)
614-488-0546 (Fax)

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